One silver lining to the black cloud that’s overshadowing the entire nation in the form of the economic crisis is that more and more Americans are making an effort to reign in frivolous personal spending and pay down outstanding debts.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for anyone committed to coping with their debts in a timely and smart matter.
Never Knock Negotiation
You don’t have to wait until you are in dire financial straits to attempt to renegotiate repayment terms with your creditors. In fact, it is key that you establish a workable repayment plan before you miss any payments or default on your loan, after which lenders are often a lot less likely to be sympathetic and help you shift things around. Call your creditors sooner rather than later and alert them of your desire to readjust your payment plan to one that more suitable to your current financial situation, should you be struggling. Feel free to request things like a new and lower repayment schedule or even a lower interest rate. If you lack the confidence to do this yourself, enlist the assistance of a credit counselor who can negotiate on your behalf.
Pay Within Your Means
When attempting to pay down credit card debt, it is important to make more than the minimum monthly payment in order to gain any ground. That said, however, whatever money you plan to spend on pay off your balance must fit realistically within your budget, or else you risk digging yourself into an ever deeper debt hole. If you put too much money toward a credit card bill without leaving yourself enough left over to cover your day to day living expenses you may be forced to charge things like groceries to your credit card and find yourself in the no-win cycle of accumulating new debt as you are paying off old debt.
Save Something For Your Savings
While the interest accruing on outstanding credit card balances far exceeds the interest earned on saving accounts these days, don’t entirely forgo putting a little something into the piggy bank. In fact, having an emergency fund in place in an important aspect to getting out of debt and keeping yourself debt free. If you have an emergency fund, you will have money set aside to draw upon should unexpected expenses arise and thus you won’t need to pile more debt onto your credit cards.
Break Bad Habits
You may be able to train yourself to make payments on time and slowly drag yourself out of debt one month at a time but if you don’t tackle your poor money management skills that lead you into debt in the first place then you aren’t really getting anywhere fast. Make a budget. Curb unnecessary spending. Monitor your credit score. Those are just a few of the things you can do to tidy up your financial house and keep it spic and span.
Dealing with your debt now before it gets out of control is the best thing you can do on behalf of your financial future. By coddling your credit score you will make sure that you are availed of the best deals and rates when applying for credit cards and other financial products.